Resources from the episode:

Transcript of the interview:

Docebo 0:07
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to the Learning Elevated podcast brought to you by Docebo. The show where we help you elevate your learning efforts and move up in the world of enterprise learning and development. As always, and guiding you on your journey up the tower, the elevator operators, myself, Kerri Moore and my co host, Rob Ayre now each week, as you know, we stop off at a new floor. And today we’re getting off on the second floor, the dojo. So this is episode number two and we’re kind of carrying on the theme that we started last week, which was all about the learner experience. And you know, this week, we’re really gonna dive into what does that mean in practice. For sure, I mean, there’s so much to say about it right? So it’s nice to have two different perspectives on this, so we’ve got a really good guest for you guys today. We absolutely do. And speaking of what the floor is called the dojo, Kerri so you know what a dojo is? Oh my, I mean, something to do with Zen, karate, right? Like I may or may not have pre-Googled this before you asked.

I almost certainly did, and yeah, it’s like, you know it’s that place to go and to learn and develop yourself into, you know, to really better yourself. AndI think that that really speaks to what the learner experience is all about. It’s about providing a place that’s accessible, interesting and a place you want to go to help to develop yourself. And if you can build that into your corporate or your enterprise learning experience, your enterprise learning program, people are going to want to go back that much more often. Right?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, if I think back to the types of learning that I’ve had that I really remember and that I was engaged with, it is something that provided a fantastic experience for me something that made me want to come back for more, so this is an incredibly important part of training, I think. Yeah, and speaking of that, so as always, we want to go through just one of the pieces of reading that we kind of did to build ourselves up for this episode. And the piece for today is Elearning Industry How to Make Your Learning Experience Fun and Why That’s Important for Your Bottom Line. And this is by Dr. Brendan Maloney. And you know, the title says so much too, right? That it’s not about just creating something for your learner’s but you as a learning administrative professional. Or even just as an organization who’s trying to implement learning, you’re concerned about your bottom line?

Exactly. Yeah, it’s a thing. And I mean, about, you know, people worried about making it fun. This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about a little bit on this topic now, but we cannot stress enough how important it is because you need your people to be engaged. And this is the best way. But of course, your course’s success is going to depend heavily on like, whether your learner is actually engaged or not. And whether they are actually able to complete the course, how much they enjoyed the course, and actually, then how useful the course was – were they able to then implement their learning straightaway.

Yeah, how are you able to kind of look at that, that course or that material and say, okay, this person took it, but did it make a measurable impact in their day to day life and your organization’s life or in the growth of that individual? Exactly. You know, and one of the things that this article goes on to talk about is that it’s not just about an individual course, it’s about accessibility more generally. And, you know, making sure that people are able to access the courses over a range of devices is so crucial, you know, making sure that people are able to learn on the move, or as we like to always say, learning in the flow of work.

That’s it. You know, that’s how we all learn. We’re always constantly on our phones, you know, people listen to podcasts on their phones in the car, we need also to be able to have our training materials to adapt to that. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, one of the things that constantly I think comes up as we talked to our customers and talk to industry professionals, is how do you make learning objects shorter? You know, how do we really make sure that it’s shorter videos, it’s shorter presentation? Yeah. How do we make things that sort of really do actually work into that flow of work? Yes. So really bite sized, right, so that we can just take the most important parts and not kind of have the extra fluff on the end.

You gotta cut out the fluff whenever possible. Absolutely. So yeah, if you can incorporate videos you’re saying making it really short. And also, I really like this as well. Maybe being a Brit, is something that jumped out to me, but being able to inject like a pub quiz kind of style knowledge. Yeah. I love that like that. I mean, that’s how we all learn over in Britain. So you know, maybe if you can add that into your learning programs too then all the better. Yeah, yeah.

Well, the point right after that, that sort of spoke to me was the interactive paths. Yes. Honestly, if there’s anything that you can do to actually have people go beyond just sitting and taking a course Yeah, you know, actually interacting with it doing something that that keeps their mind active as opposed to just sitting there and watching. Absolutely, and again, something that they say in here as well is about if you’re able to, you know, stir debate, using whatever social learning channels that you have then even better as well that’s going to just take that experience to the next level. So yeah, great article. great article. And, and as always, this is available on on this week’s episode, that’s Episode Two – The Dojo so be sure to check it out and get a little more. It looks like we’re just about here. The floor – Kerri do you want to throw it over to our interview. I am so excited. Today guys we have Annie Davies and she’s coming from Pride Global and she’s the Talent Engagement Manager over there and she’s going to talk us through the dojo and everything they’re getting up to – take it away Annie!

Annie, thank you so much for being on the podcast with us, it’s so great to speak with you today. Would you be able to give us a bit of a background of your role at Pride Global to start us off?

Annie Davies 5:08
Of course, thank you so much for having me, we’re excited to share a little bit more about what we’re doing over here. My name is Annie Davies and I am our Talent Engagement Manager here at Pride Global. I focus primarily on learning and development, inculturation and training for all of our new hires and for our existing population, so making sure that we have a strong focus on continuing education. I also help to continue to build and develop our Learning Management System which we’ve coined ‘LENS’. And LENS stands for learn, engage, network and share, which really ties in nicely with a lot of our cultural values that we have here at the firm.

Docebo 5:58
That’s great. So you can start to sort of walk us through, you know, what is the Pride Global Dojo?

Annie Davies 6:05
Yeah, of course, I would love to. So our culture is extremely important to us here at Pride. We essentially evaluate and promote individuals in two different ways here. Obviously we promote individuals for their performance, their metrics, we have a lot of recruiters so, you know, the revenue that they’re bringing into the firm, and performance along what we call our ‘X access’. So that’s how people receive things like title promotion, salary changes, bonuses, so on and so forth. Then we promote individuals on the ‘Y access’ as well, which is where we focus on cultural promotion. So in ways that people are contributing to our culture, and we call this The Dojo Program. So on a quarterly basis, we come together, and we promote individuals for how they are impacting our culture here at Pride. So everyone here at the organization comes in as a white belt.

Whether they have you know, 15 years of experience in the industry three years experience or they just graduated college and they’re just starting in their very first job. Every single person starts as a white belt, simply because they don’t know our culture, yet they haven’t been able to demonstrate our cultural values. So we like to start everyone off on that level playing field. Then, as you progress in your time here at Pride, you move through the different belt systems. And the way that we assess individuals is on our cultural values that we have here, which we call Aikido. AIKIDO stands for Adoptability, Integrity, Knowledge, Invest in others, Drive, and Outlook. So on a quarterly basis we’ll come together with our senior leadership here and say – how have you know these individuals been demonstrating these cultural values over the past 90 days? And we’ll promote them accordingly. It’s a really, really wonderful program and super unique, in my opinion, that we are focusing so heavily on promoting people for just their cultural contributions and how they’re, you know, contributing to our firm outside of just performance. And it’s, it’s been really wonderful. We actually have our senior leadership here is really based off of your different belt level. So I mentioned that everyone comes in as a white belt, our senior leadership here, are orange belts are, green belts and are, purple belts. So you know, people who have progressed very nicely through the Dojo Program

Docebo 8:29
That’s fantastic, and that’s one of the reasons why we were so excited to speak with you because this is just such a unique way of showing the platform, and also just making sure that your learners really are at the center of this, you know, it really gets them involved. So obviously, today we’re talking about the learner experience, so how do you how do you address that and apply it at Pride Global?

Annie Davies 8:49
So we definitely understand that every learner you know, learns differently, and we have a variety of different options for training and learning experiences here. We do a lot of live training, you know, in your first week you’re being trained, you know, on our culture and our values and who we are, what we do live. But we also have a ton of video content within LENS in the LMS, to reinforce a lot of that live training, give people that resource to go back to, you know, if they forget something, or they just want to, you know, refresh their memory on anything. So we host a lot of courses through our learning management system as well. And we also do a ton of different webinars on a weekly basis. And then we’ve been utilizing channels a lot for our informal learning – just encourage people to know that this is a place of continuing education and amplace of continuous learning, that you’re not done just right after we, you know, take you through your new hire orientation and your first week. We also want to make sure that the learner experience is simple and it’s easy. You know, people are busy, they have full time jobs here, so we want to make sure that when we are asking them to step off of their desk, or off of their job to learn something, that it’s easy and it’s a great way to, you know, simply kind of pick something up quickly along the way. So we’re actually in our, you know, second iteration of our user experience, within LENS, that everyone can easily find what they need super quickly, super seamlessly based off of feedback that we had, initially from our population here. We first started out with a really kind of fancy interface. We wanted it to be, you know, super unique looking, super intricate and then everyone was kind of like – well, how do I know what courses I need to take? It wasn’t a super positive learning experience. So we then took a step back and said, okay, let’s make it so simple for everybody. You login, you have your mandatory classes, you have optional classes, and you have a place where if you’re just curious about learning something, you can find all of that right from our homepage. So we’ve really tried to, you know, take a step back and put ourselves in the eyes of the learner and understand their needs and their wants to make it the best and most seamless experience of the platform. And we’ve also tried to provide a really targeted learning approach to make sure that the information, it’s super relevant to them, you know, in relation to their job here, to make sure that we’re not, you know, spinning anyone’s wheels, trying to get them to, you know, watch certain things that just aren’t super relevant to them.

Docebo 11:28
So a lot of the organizations that we speak to, you know, creating that great learner experience is kind of their holy grail, you know, they’re really focusing in on the little things that can make a big difference in their employees or their partners or their customers lives when it comes to engaging with that learning. So kind of, in your opinion, what are one or two of the things that really make a learning experience great?

Annie Davies 11:57
Yeah, it’s super important. I think for us, what we’ve learned over the past few years working with an LMS, that ease of use was kind of number one on everyone’s plate around here, making the learning kind of as pain free as possible for everybody, and our new interface really allows for us to do that. So make it easy, make it simple, make the content very easy to absorb, and easy to understand, you know – what do I need to take and how can I walk away, you know, understanding exactly what, you know, I needed to learn about experience? Um, another thing I would say is, you know, I kind of just mentioned this earlier, but know that targeted and relevant coursework. We don’t want to send somebody into the platform to watch you know, 30 videos about things that aren’t necessarily applicable to them right off the bat. So when our learners first start here, we have their coursework pre assigned to them before they even begin, so that when they log in, they have a range of 20 to 30 courses that are specific to them. You know, if they work in one of our specific teams that focuses on health care, all of their videos are going to be, you know, targeted to that health care, you know, specific learning. So that they’re not just sitting there, you know, not understanding why they’re watching certain videos. It’s all very, very relevant right off the bat. And I think that another thing that really makes the experience great is that the content’s updated and that you’re constantly looking to add new content to the experience, so that nothing stale, nothing’s outdated, and, you know, you’re constantly providing new experiences for them, to come back into the platform to drive that learning and to encourage people to just try to learn something new every single day.

Docebo 13:44
Absolutely. Well it sounds like you guys have got it down, by the sounds of it you guys have worked it out really well.

Annie Davies 13:49
We’re working on it. We’re working on it. It’s always a work in progress.

Docebo 13:52
Well, you fooled me. It sounds very good. But how have you found then since you have focused so much on the learner experience, how have you found that it’s impacted the success of your learning programs? Have you seen a correlation there?

Annie Davies 14:06
Yeah, I think that, um, you know, by people being motivated to go into the platform that was something that we struggled with to be honest at first. Getting people engaged, especially after they complete those, you know, initial mandatory classes, making sure that people still want to go back into the platform was something that was definitely a challenge for us. And that’s where we really started focusing on you know, how do we continue that learning experience past their first week past their first month so that when they’re, you know, two years in, they still have a reason to go back into our platform? So I think we’ve discovered that if every learner really feels like the experiences is tailored towards them, it’s relevant, they’re more engaged. And if it’s, if it’s easy to absorb, if it’s, you know, interesting content, that you know, maybe it’s not relevant necessarily in terms of their, their job here, but relevant, you know, in what’s going on in the world. We frequently post articles from different news sources or different kind of updates going on so that people have an opportunity to not just learn something about their job and what we do in the industry, you know, they’ve been here 10 years, they probably know, but learn something about what’s happening, you know, across the world. So I think that focusing on the learner experience at multiple different stages has been really, really crucial for us. So the new higher stage, the one month end stage, the 60 days stage, the one year, so on and so forth. And taking it from their point of view, has allowed us to be much more successful in that regard.

Docebo 15:48
That’s awesome. You know, I remember we were having a conversation, I think, the other day on a similar subject and sort of bringing in sort of real world experiences and then extending them into the, into the learning platform that you’re using. Can you kind of walk us through how you guys are kind of doing that maybe sort of bringing meetings into the digital space when you have the opportunity to do it?

Annie Davies 16:10
Yeah, definitely. So what we’ve started doing is using channels a lot more. And we have an entire part of our platform that’s right on our homepage called #feelingcurioustoday. And the purpose of that platform is, like you just said, to post updates, post news articles, you read something interesting that you think that your colleagues might be interested in, you can share it there. If you watch an interesting TED talk or see something on YouTube or, you know, a relevant article for our space you can post it on there and you can share it so easily and it goes directly into people’s inboxes. So that’s been, you know, a super seamless, honestly, way for us to get people into the platform to just simply you know, read something, learn something, take 10 minutes out of your day to poke around. And it’s been very successful for us so far. Our CEO is heavily invested in contributing content in that ‘feeling curious’ bucket and that has inspired a lot of teams individually to start their own channels as well. So, you know, just set up for their own specific team to post, you know, things about their team’s specific industry. So if they’re focused on, you know, say engineering, for example, they’ll be able to post 10 articles relevant to the engineering space, or the technology space, whatever it might be. So by starting with this really generic, open ended part of our platform, as we’ve seen people, you know, viewing the articles, actually engaging with the content, you know, it’s branched off into other teams, you know, now using it for their training and their individual purposes. And we’re really empowering people to not just rely on rely on our team anymore to post the content and make the content – they’re creating it themselves. So it happened, honestly, pretty organically after we, you know, promoted our own ‘feeling curious today’ portal, and now we’re seeing more and more teams starting it up. So we’re really excited to see where this will also go into the future.

Docebo 18:15
Absolutely. And well you’re obviously the one that’s, that’s heading all of this. So what would you say is some of your best parts of your job and maybe some of the challenges that you’ve faced on the way?

Annie Davies 18:27
Yeah, I mean, the best part about my job is I’m actively involved in so many things. Um, you know, I love that I am one of the first people that our new hires meet on their very first day. I love that I’m one of the people who teaches them about our culture and about our values and, you know, make sure that they feel welcome into our organization and make sure that they they don’t get lost or they don’t have any questions. I think that that’s honestly truly rewarding is establishing myself and our whole engagement team as that point of contact in the organization where people don’t necessarily know, you know, who to ask what to do, they know that they can come to us, and they know that they can, you know, feel comfortable talking to us about anything, and that weren’t really there across so many different milestones across the organization and across your time here at Pride Global. So really, from that day, one experience and then continuing to engage with everybody. Honestly, my favorite fun fact is that I know every single person’s name in the organization it’s, it’s yeah, and I know that in you know, previous jobs that I didn’t. And so that’s really rewarding to me is having that kind of personal connection with so many people, we have so many different offices, so many different things going on. But just having that knowledge and being kind of in the center of it all is super rewarding. And in terms of challenges, I mean there are challenges daily -There are always the ups and downs of everything, but I think, you know, the biggest challenge as it relates back to LENS and our like learning experience is just continuing to develop it and continuing to keep people engaged, there’s always something that we can be doing, always a way that we can continue to enhance the platform. And I think that that’s a challenge in and of itself is that, you know, you can ever kind of just stand still with it – we’re always looking to do something else and people are constantly looking for new things within the platform. So I think that that’s definitely a big challenge, but an exciting one at that.

Docebo 20:44
There’s always challenges but they always present themselves as opportunities and new things.

Annie Davies 20:50
Exactly. You said it better than I did. Yeah. Absolutely.

Docebo 20:53
Well, Andy, thanks so much for letting us take a stop here and learn a little bit more about the dojo. It’s been it’s been so fantastic to speak with you, and we really appreciate the opportunity to getting a little, you know, a little insight into what you guys are up to.

Annie Davies 21:05
Awesome. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me.

Docebo 21:08
Thanks, Annie. Well, as we step back on the elevator there, I can’t help but reflect on that interview. You know, obviously, we want to just start by saying a big thank you to Annie Davies for coming on the show today. It’s just, incredible how important, Kerri, I think culture is to the whole learning experience, isn’t it? I know. I mean, I wouldn’t like that, frankly. It sounds amazing. Yeah, it really does. And I like you know, there’s so many cool things, just the fact that they’ve really leaned into the elements that that that dojo kind of creates – the belt system like what a cool way to go about, you know, employee progression and employee trajectories, I that was was really really cool.

I know and how everybody starts off on white belts. So she said, you know, no matter how many years experience they have in their role, they still come in fresh because they don’t know the culture yet. And that’s so like, it’s Yeah, it makes complete sense. And everyone can work their way up that belt system. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, it’s just all a growing and learning experience, whether it’s on the platform or just at a company in general. So yeah, again, just thank you so much, Annie, for coming on the show. We really enjoyed having you. And you know what I thought it was really nice to know that even they struggle with engagement. Like even though they have such a cool concept, like, I want to be in that inside that dojo, you know what I mean? But if they even struggled to have their learners engaged with their courses, like, that just makes me feel a lot better. Yeah, no, absolutely. No, I think looking at that, too. And I think for anybody who’s, who’s listening to this podcast, and they’re thinking, like, geez, you know, my engagement’s low, too, or, you know, I have I have things that I want hit and everybody does, there’s always there’s always opportunities to grow and to improve. You know, it’s kind of why we’re doing this podcast, we really hope that when people listen to this, they say, you know, here’s, here’s just one tidbit that I can implement in my program that’s going to that’s going to help that engagement or it’s going to help my learners to enjoy a little bit more, it’s going to help my organization to grow. You know, one of the things to that they were that Annie was able to sort of bring up there was that they’re just constantly updating the content. You know, they’re updating what that learner experience is. And I think that that’s one of those things where, again, like, you go back and you look at learning as, as an experience, and it is iterative and it is always changing, and so, you know, one thing that might not be working today, well, you know, start doing some research, start looking at things and figure out a way that you can make an update and make a change and by doing that, you know, in a year’s time, you’re gonna be able to look back and say, you know, I pinpointed this one thing that I really wanted to improve I changed a certain process or changed a system or maybe I just uploaded a different piece of content. Yeah, and as a result, you know, things are now starting to go a little bit better that’s already a little bit frustrating is really helping my business to grow.

Exactly. I think if you’re just creative about it, I think you can come up with something that’s going to work eventually just going to put the time and the effort in and and the love the passion. Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, just making sure that people are having fun, you know, like it’s so important again, and we talked about this at the start of the show, but it’s, it’s how am I making sure that people are having fun doing what they’re doing? Are they having fun at work? How are they having fun learning and sort of putting fun as the as the sort of the starting point of your thought process. You know, it can be tough in business because a lot of the time there’s there’s bottom lines that we have to meet. But sometimes it’s important to just change that bottom line for a quick second to fun.

And you know, talking a fun, I’m having fun right now with you on the elevator, Rob. Well, it’s the music who can who can’t who doesn’t love a good little bit of elevator music? It’s beautiful. It’s so relaxing. But we’re getting off soon, though, for floor number three. And we’re getting off at the goldmine. We sure are. And you know, just as a quick teaser, before we let you go today, we’re not actually going to be doing the interview next week. We’ve got a special guest interviewer coming in, it’s Alessio Artuffo, Docebo’s chief revenue officer and he’s going to be interviewing, you know, a real veteran of the learning industry, Talented Learnings John Leh. So make sure you head to the website, check out all the resources there. I think there’s a lot of additional, you know, pieces of learning that you’re going to be able to take a lot from and just you know, subscribe, and make sure you come back to the next week’s episode. We’ve got a really really excited one lined up for you guys. I’m so excited. I’m going to be fishing for gold. Fishing for gold. All right. Thank you everybody for listening to the learning elevated podcast brought to you by Docebo. And we will see you next time. See you next week.

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Floor 2: The DojoAnnie Davies